Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 9/16/2018

If you have a list of home contractors that you use and are satisfied with, consider your yourself lucky!

Many homeowners find themselves in the unenviable position of having to blindly search online for reputable contractors, sort their way through dozens of miscellaneous reviews, and then hopefully find a handful of promising candidates to interview.

Even after all that, there's no guarantee you'll be 100% satisfied with your choice!

Although picking a contractor may sometimes feel like a gamble, there are strategies for lowering your risk factor.

A personal recommendation from someone you know and trust is usually the most reliable method of finding the right person for the job. If a relative or friend has had a positive experience with a roofer, bathroom remodeler, or plumber, then there's a good chance, you'll be satisfied with them, too. It's still a good idea to get two or three contractor estimates, but a good starting point is to have at least one recommendation from someone who has your best interest at heart.

Do Online Reviews Help?

Online review sites can also provide helpful information and feedback, but they're not always the "unvarnished truth". In spite of efforts by review sites to discourage biased reviews, some are probably going to slip through. For example: Have you ever read a review that sounded like it was an advertisement for the contractor? Sometimes when the praise sounds just a little too glowing and over the top, you can't help but wonder if those reviews are genuine and unbiased. Although the majority of online reviews are probably legit, the best way to view them is with a healthy dose of skepticism.

When it comes to the occasional scathing review by a disgruntled customer, one has to put it in context and look at "the big picture." There are some customers who are literally impossible to satisfy and will always find something to complain about. However, if a contractor has more than one or two negative reviews online, and they're not offset by a couple dozen positive ones, then that could be a potential red flag. Since you don't know the reviewers personally, and the reviews are often posted anonymously, the credibility factor is much lower than if you got a recommendation from one of your parents, a close friend, a next-door neighbor, a sibling, business associate, or your real estate agent.

The point at which you should be able to separate the "wheat from the chaff" is during your face-to-face meetings. If a contractor gives every you indication of being professional, honest, knowledgeable, experienced, ethical, and customer-service oriented, then they're probably a good prospect for the job. Other factors include the price they quote, their Better Business Bureau rating, and their willingness to provide references, proof of insurance coverage (such as general liability and Workers' Comp, if applicable) and direct answers to all your questions





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 9/9/2018

Ready to submit a home loan application? Ultimately, there are many factors to consider before you finalize your submission, and these include:

1. Your Outstanding Debt

If you have outstanding student loan, car or other debt, you should try to pay it off as quickly as possible. By doing so, you can boost your chances of securing a home loan that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Take a look at your outstanding debt and make a plan to pay down your bills. With a plan in place, you may be able to reduce or eliminate outstanding debt before you complete your home loan application.

2. Your Credit Score

A strong credit score will help a homebuyer get a terrific home loan. Conversely, an inferior credit score is unlikely to do you any favors after you submit a home loan application.

Learn about your credit score before you finalize your home loan application. Then, you can allocate the necessary time and resources to boost your credit score or correct any errors on your credit report.

You are eligible for one free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Request a copy of your credit report, and you can understand where your credit score currently stands.

Also, if you find any errors on your credit report, contact the credit reporting bureau that provided the report immediately. This will allow you to correct any credit report mistakes and reduce the risk that these errors could impact your ability to secure a home loan.

3. Your Savings

It never hurts to save money, especially if you'd like to purchase a home in the near future. If you start saving today, you may be better equipped than other homebuyers to have the necessary finances in place for a down payment on a house.

In most instances, lenders will require you to have at least a small portion of the purchase price of a home available for a down payment. If you have thousands of dollars available for a down payment, you may be able to boost your chances of getting a "Yes" from a lender after you submit your home loan application.

Getting a home loan may seem like a long, arduous process. Fortunately, many lenders are available to help you secure a great home loan.

Meet with several lenders as you explore all of your home loan options. That way, you can learn about a broad array of home loan options and choose a home loan that matches your finances perfectly.

After you secure a home loan, you'll be able to move one step closer to securing your dream residence. Of course, if you need assistance during the homebuying journey, it never hurts to reach out to a real estate agent as well.

A real estate agent will do everything possible to help you acquire a top-notch residence at an affordable price. Thus, if you employ a real estate agent, you may be able to enjoy a fast, seamless homebuying experience.




Tags: Buying a home   loans  
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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 9/2/2018

As you complete the final steps of the home selling process, it is important to cancel various everyday house services prior to moving day. In fact, some of the essential services that you may need to cancel include:

1. Electric

Notify your electric company about your plans to move. You also can tell the company how much longer you will be staying in your house and provide it with a forwarding address for your final invoice.

Ultimately, you should provide your electric company with at least a few weeks' notice about your plans to relocate. This will ensure that you and the electric company can work together to settle your final bill.

2. Cable and Internet

If you like your current cable and internet services provider, you may be able to transfer your current services to your new location. And if you call your cable and internet services provider and speak with a customer service agent, you can find out exactly how to do that.

Of course, there may be instances where you need to cancel your cable and internet services. If you are moving to a city or town where your current cable and internet services provider is unavailable, for example, you may need to cancel your services.

3. Water

Contact your local water company and give it the news about your moving plans. This will ensure that you won't be billed for any water services after your moving date.

Don't wait until the last minute to notify your water services provider about your move, either. Remember, the sooner you inform your water services provider about your moving plans, the sooner you can guarantee that any water services in your name will be discontinued once you relocate from your current address.

As the day of your home closing approaches, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. If you collaborate with a real estate agent throughout the property selling journey, you can get the help you need to overcome any potential house selling hurdles.

A real estate agent is a house selling expert, and as such, will serve as a helpful guide throughout the property selling journey. First, a real estate agent will learn about you and your home. He or she next will craft a custom property selling strategy, one that ensures you can quickly sell your residence and maximize its value. Then, a real estate agent will list your residence, promote it to prospective buyers and set up house showings and open house events. And once you receive an accept an offer to purchase your residence, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to finalize your home sale.

When it comes to selling a house, it often helps to hire a real estate agent. By employing a real estate agent, you can receive in-depth insights at each stage of the house selling journey. And as a result, you can quickly and effortlessly accomplish your desired home selling results.




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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 8/26/2018

???Robert Frost's poem, Mending Wall, poses an interesting question about whether "good fences make good neighbors."

On one hand, there are several advantages to having your property surrounded by a fence, especially if you or your neighbors have dogs or small children running around.

If you happen to have a vegetable garden or fruit trees in your backyard, a well-constructed fence can also help keep out ravenous deer, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and other wildlife.

There's no doubt that fences can serve a variety of useful purposes, ranging from privacy and safety to wildlife control and home security. While it can be beneficial to mark off your property boundaries and keep your backyard private, a question to consider is whether a large fence -- especially a new one -- sends the wrong message to your neighbors.  Striking the perfect balance between privacy and friendly neighbor relations can be tricky at times, but there are compelling reasons to stay on good terms.

  1. Security reasons: If you take the time to chat with your neighbors every now and then, they'll have more of a tendency to keep an eye on your property when you're on vacation or just away for the day -- especially if you ask them.  People tend to be more helpful, observant, and protective of others with whom they share a bond or have a sense of community. In contrast to that, if they don't even know your name and haven't exchanged more than a few words with you in years, they'll be less inclined to pay attention to who's on your property and whether they belong there or not.
  2. Sharing resources: Keeping the lines of communication open with your neighbors is beneficial on many levels. When you have a friendly, ongoing relationship, you won't feel reluctant to ask them for help when your car battery's dead and you're running late for work. Trusted neighbors can also provide you with valuable information, such the names of dependable home improvement contractors or how to arrange a free pickup of household clutter that you want to donate to the Salvation Army.
  3. Quality of life: When you're regularly greeted by friendly neighbors, your neighborhood will feel like more of a welcoming and upbeat place to live. It may be necessary for you to set the example or make the first move, but once a friendly atmosphere has been created in a neighborhood, it's relatively easy to keep it going.

So while you may not want your neighbors to get in the habit of stopping by your home to chew the fat, every day, it can be worth your while to greet them by name, offer help whenever possible, and be the kind of good neighbor you'd like them to be. Setting a positive example may be all that's needed to establish a cooperative relationship and possibly even a life-long friendship. And, if all else fails, keep in mind the words of Benjamin Franklin: "Love thy neighbor, but don't pull down your hedge!"





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 8/19/2018

Doing a home improvement or renovation is a great way to add value to your home while learning something new. If you decide to DIY, you can enlist the help of your family and learn together.

But, when youíre taking on a task youíve never done before, thereís a lot that can go wrong. You might go over budget, or the project might take significantly longer than expected. Sometimes we start jobs that we donít have the expertise (or permits) to finish and have to call in a professional sinking more time and money into what was supposed to be an inexpensive renovation.

To help you avoid some of these common pitfalls, weíve provided these tips for running a successful home improvement project so you can focus on your renovation and not on the headaches that come with it.

1. Know when to call the experts

Undertaking a do-it-yourself project can be fun and rewarding. However, some tasks are better left to the professionals. Plumbing and electrical mistakes, in particular, can be dangerous and costly if you get it wrong. You donít want to disregard the safety of you, your family, and your belongings just to save money on hiring a professional.

2. Call the best expert for the job

Call multiple professionals for a quote before accepting an offer.

If you received what seems a very low quote for a job, make sure to call other experts in the industry to see how much they would charge for the job. Getting an unusually low offer could be a sign that the contractor will rush the project or use cheap materials.

Alternatively, if you receive a quote that seems too high, the contractor may have a busy schedule or might not really want the job, so theyíve offered you a price they donít expect you to take.

Regardless of who you choose, see if you can find reviews and testimonials to make sure youíve selected a contractor who is professional and has good customer feedback.

3. Aim high with your budget

When homeowners take on a renovation, they tend to underestimate the costs. To avoid being shocked by going over budget, estimate what you think the total costs would be and then at another twenty percent. That twenty percent could account for damaged building materials, mistakes, or last-minute changes and customizations--all are frequent on DIY projects.

4. Donít work without a design or blueprint

Even for simple home improvement projects, itís best to start out with a plan. Having detailed measurements and drawings to refer to will help you avoid costly mistakes. Weíve all felt the temptation to ďeyeball itĒ when working on a project--taking the extra few minutes to measure and refer to your plan will save you time in the long run.

5. Relax and focus on the results

Home improvement projects can be a source of frustration for many families. If you arenít an expert, itís easy to get angry when things arenít going as you planned. If you find yourself frequently hitting a wall-literally or figuratively--step back from the project and refocus on the end goal, improving your home for years to come.




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